So the book I’m going to review was written over fifty years ago and is primarily instructive in games you have never played and are quite unlikely to ever play, there’s no mention of No Limit Hold’em and the internet was just a twinkle in some boffin's eye. You're thinking this is probably a bit of a waste of your time aren’t you? Well I hope to convince you otherwise because I found the book to be interesting and instructive and it has opened my eyes in aspects of the game that I had never considered before.
The reason this book is a useful tool today is because poker is about so much more than starting positions and hand ranking charts. I found the ‘folksy’ tales from the tables the author uses to underline specific poker lessons a fascinating insight into another time and shows that although many years have past since the author penned the book, poker players have changed very little and played the game as hard and fast as any internet wiz kid or high stakes player does today. Maybe more so, not sure Roland De Wolfe would attempt to scoop a pot up as one of the players Yardley describes does whilst local farmer ‘Bones Alverson’ still grips his cards from a fatal heart attack!
The early lessons from his rounder mentor and tutor ‘Monty’ give a fascinating insight into playing the situation and not the cards, a part of the game which is more prevalent today than ever before and translate beautifully to No Limit Hold’em. A personal favourite lesson is the importance of neither over or under estimating opponents and is beautifully demonstrated with a story about playing spoof for marbles.
As for actual playing instruction, well I have many seven card stud books and am a dedicated student of this variation of the game. Yardley’s section for seven card stud in this book is one of the finest I have ever read. I would go as far as saying that just reading the first two pages of this chapter would turn a losing low limits seven card stud player into a profitable player, that’s how highly I regard this chapter.
In summation, this book won’t help your No Limit Hold’em game to the extent of Harrington or Sklanksy but it will certainly help you understand your opponents a little better and some of the tales will make you chuckle.
I give it 6 blonde stars out of 10.